A few years ago our dishwasher also stopped cleaning as well as it used to. We had to put the machine on pots and pan mode, or run it twice to get dishes clean. After some Googling of the problem, we determined our dishwasher was fine, it was the new soap formula to blame: the detergent makers had taken phosphates out of their detergents. The easy fix is to add a little trisodium phosphate (aka deck cleaner) from the hardware store.
The problem with many of these newer, computer conftrolled appliances is that they have totally changes out the mechaical system for electrical. For instance - We bought a new washing machine for a friend in Mexico. Her old machine had the normal mechanical timer and was easy to reset. They don't have presurized water out in the colonias so they are used to doing wash teh old ringer washer way. They fill the washer with water from a pail, wash teh delicates and whites first, stop the washer before the first drain cycle and reset the timer, remove teh clothes and wash the next batch. The last batch they will spin out and then spin out hte other batches before hanging on the line to dry.
This approach works well because it could take several hours to fill the washer, depending on local water usage.
The new washe had several problems. If you interrpted the cycle it would pump the water out every time and it would not nicely reset to the start of cycle. So I used an Arduino to make an alternate controller for the washer. The Arduino controls 2 solid state relays to the motor. One for forward and 1 for reverse. Problem is that the motor has poor cooling so she can put 1 load through just a wash cycle, but then she has to let the washer sit for 1/2 hour for the motor to cool or the thermal switch trips. If teh motor doesn't do a sping cycle after every wash cycle the motor doesn't get enough air through it to cool off.
The washer is great here in the US where we have plenty of water and can dump it after every load. So what we intended as a nice gift turned out to be not so useful...
Most anybody that has purchased an appliance from an American manufacturer in recent years will have similar comments. These corporations are spending all their R&D wringing out the last penny from the design - most often without regard to reliability (think warranty plus one day).
Sorry GTOlover, I mistyped. It's NXR, not NXP (the semiconductor company, ironically). Check them out at http://nxrstoves.com/. If the GTO stands for the Pontiac muscle-car, I still wax nostalgic about my '67 GTO, my second car after my '65 Mustang. Ahh, those were the days!
It's not just dishwashers! I have an Amana slide-in range that's about 6 years old. The fancy clock/control panel (a fluorescent display, membrane keypad, microcontroller, etc.) apparently can't stand the heat of being mounted above the oven ... gee, imagine an oven that actually gets hot! Apparently the "engineers" at Amana can't. If the oven is set for, say 400-degrees, all is well for about 20 minutes then the display goes blank and the oven shuts off. Makes it kinda tough to bake for an hour! Anyway, the part is "no longer available" from Amana (or any other supplier on the web) ... but I can pay $160 for a "rebuilt" one that likely won't fare any better since this is clearly a DESIGN issue. The same brilliant engineers put plastic endcaps at the oven vents ... as you might guess, they were the first casualties, becoming embrittled and crumbling. Oh yes, when I cleaned the stainless with 409 (a great grease-cutter to remove frying splatter), the silkscreening at the control knobs wiped right off! These guys are not only "monkeys" but moron engineers as well! I'm now looking for a replacement range ... one with NO ELECTRONICS at all. I'm keen on the line by NXP ... simple and elegant, even if a bit pricey. But never, ever will I consider Amana or any of its sister brands!
Thanks. I was wondering how far back on the chain one would need to go, i.e., how many things would have to be replaced to enable replacing the touch keypad with a hard switch of some kind. Sounds like the list, and the job, is pretty big if it includes the MCU :)
I considered the keypad replacement with a group of pushbuttons, but reverse engineering the keypad was nearly impossible. Also, it appears that the microcontroller on the board connected to the keypad looks at the keypad on turn on to determine if it is working correctly. So this may be a big project.
This is scary. I have 2 Kenmore appliances--a fridge and a stove--bought 10 years ago, of course, which is probably why they work just fine, no problems ever. Looks like whenever I do have to replace them we'll have repair problems like this. B TW, is it possible to replace those silly touch keypads with a regular hard switch of some kind?
Good comment, GTOlover. This dishwasher run happens every year or two. One story sparks stories from other readers. They all have the same theme. The family had a 25-year-old appliance that worked great. Then Mom wanted the new features. They bought a new one and it broke in two to four years.
Every once in a while a brand owner will find a Monkey story on this site. They'll reach out to the author through comments. We'll put the company together with the author and the company will try to makes things right. It doesn't happen often, but it happens.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.